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Portuguese A*A*A student gets US$30,000 from Taylor Swift to go to UK university

taylor swift charity
US singer Taylor Swift performs onstage during the Z100's iHeartRadio Jingle Ball 2019 at Madison Square Garden in New York on December 13, 2019. (Photo by Angela Weiss / AFP)

Vitoria Mario, 18, is on her way to the University of Warwick to pursue her dream of becoming a mathematician with the help of many kind strangers and the charity of one of the biggest pop stars today: Taylor Swift. The American singer donated 23,373 pounds to Maro’s GoFundMe page set up to help her raise 40,000 pounds which will go towards her accommodation, equipment (e.g. laptop, textbooks) and living costs (e.g. food, transport, gas, electricity) during her four-year course.

The US pop star wrote alongside her gift: “Vitoria, I came across your story online and am so inspired by your drive and dedication to turning your dreams into reality. I want to gift you the rest of your goal amount. Good luck with everything you do! Love, Taylor.”

Maro, who is originally from Portugal, thanked Swift for making her “dreams come true”. She is currently a student at Brampton Manor Academy, known for helping young Black and minority ethnic students get into top UK universities. For her AS and A Level, Mario attained AABB and A*A*A (Maths, Further Maths and Physics). When Mario first arrived in the UK in 2016, she could not even speak a word of English.


Her mother is in Portugal and her dad has passed away. Moving away from her family to go to the UK was hard, but a necessary sacrifice. Like many international students before them, they believed “If you can get a university education in the UK, you will be set apart for life.” She was driven to try GoFundMe after 442 emails to top firms and letters to some of the most affluent postcodes in London went unanswered.

According to The Guardian, Maro said, “I feel like at some points I was worrying too much about the money, what I have to do, if I have to look for a job, and now I can just do more maths, prepare myself for uni, so I can just be really prepared when it comes.”

“Though my story is not unique, my dream of becoming a mathematician is not only a chance at social mobility for my family and I, but to inspire people who have been in similar positions to aspire to be the best version of themselves and strive for their dreams despite gender/racial inequality, immigration issues and financial barriers,” she wrote on her GoFundMe page.

Twitter user @marygrace wrote: So @taylorswift13 donated £23K to my friend who needed funding for university and she’s met her target?! THANKYOU JESUSSSSSS!!!!! GOD IS SO GOOD!!!!!! Warwick’s Director of Undergraduate Studies Professor Michael Scott also tweeted: Welcome to @warwickuni Vitoria Mario – and here’s to @taylorswift13  for helping make it happen!

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